Fasting is a topic that has been bouncing around in my brain lately. This week I've been on vacation. One of those vacations where you just stay at home instead of running around trying to see as much as you can see. And then you get home with one day of rest before you have to get back to work and work is the place you end up getting some rest.
So I've been able to rest this week. And I've started this new diet thing where I don't eat sugar or wheat. Or much of anything else. It's called an "elimination fast." My wife is a certified nutrition consultant and she's got me on track with this. My friend Billy and I have begun to ramp up our training for the Disney Marathon so I figured I'd lose a few pounds at the same time. I feel like I'm fasting. I feel that way because I'm having to constantly tell my self "no" to so many of the food options I love soooo much. Although I was busted eating brownies Thursday night after my wife and I came home from our anniversary dinner. She shrieked at me. Shrieked. I committed food adultery. I felt I deserved it because I lost four pounds.
When I was an intern, a pastor I respect very much told me that if I want to gain control of a bad habit, I should fast. The bad habit in question at the time was a smart mouth. I told my pastor that I really wanted to grow up and get it under control. It's evident that this was a way for me to "one up" people, - I'm quick, you see - and I like to make myself first. So I took it to heart and started fasting. He said that fasting is a way to say "no" to your impulses.
I couple of years ago, a friend was diagnosed with a terminal disease. A precious prayer warrior organized friends to fast and pray for our sick brother. I committed to fasting once a week. So for about six months of Wednesdays, I went without food. The progress of the disease has slowed down dramitacally. So much so that now doctors are saying my friend may have been mis-diagnosed.
I lost ten pounds in that six months, too.
I know that last statement seems a little out of place. But twisting God's arm so He'll answer your prayers is not the point of fasting. You fast to learn to deny yourself. And you spiritually fine tune yourself.
The idea is not the being "in tune." The focus is the denying. And that leads to obedience, maturity, spending time with God, and increasing your hunger/understanding for/of God's Word. See?
If you're struggling with a bad habit, any bad habit (yes, even that one) try going without food once a week for a chunk of time.
By the way. Before I change my eating habits, I practice first by fasting.